This is not a how-to-get-millions-of-followers-on-Instagram-and-make-a-living-out-of-it type of post. I feel like I have to preface every “how to” post like this, because there will be always be other bloggers/social media/digital gurus telling me I’m not qualified! No, this is just a collection of a few things I’ve learned along the way in my experience with Instagram, that you might find handy if you are just getting into it or if you want to create better content.
Firstly, if you guys are on one social media platform, I would choose Instagram head and shoulders above the rest! I love it because it offers me such positivity in this world (it’s the only social media app I still keep on my phone as a result). I get wisdom, beauty, stories and the chance to connect with others through the power of this wonderful platform. Also, all of these points below are very subjective and more about how I personally like consuming and engaging with content on Instagram:
- Firstly, don’t use actual Instagram to take the photo! Use your regular phone camera and then upload to Instagram.
- Caption it. Maybe it’s because I’m a word person but even if your image is really really beautiful, I at least want to know where in the world it was taken, or what it means to you. I need context.
- It’s all in the detail. It’s the little things that make life interesting. So maybe don’t take a picture of the cake, take a picture of all the crumbs on the table once the party is over? Or do a close up on that one crimson petal, instead of photographing the entire flower.
- Frame and angle. I think proper photographers would call this composition? But a lot of it is about choosing how to position all of the things in your image. Your kid in the centre of the pic looking straight towards the camera, every single time, is just not that interesting. Try snapping them at the bottom left with a green field stretching out behind them. Or get down on the grass and take a pic of them staring up at the clouds.
- Take a lot of pics. If I’m about to Instagram something, I take about 6 or 7 shots and then review them afterwards, choosing the best one. Not many people take a good shot that first time.
- It’s all about the light. If you’re photographing objects, know the spots in your house that give you the best light (you can instantly see when comparing). This is especially applicable when it comes to photographing food (which is hard!) – snap some pics in different lights to find the best option.
- Get props. Professional bloggers have entire prop drawers and cupboards but I’m not there yet! I have a few cloths and vases and plates that I know add that little something, plus I find that fresh flowers or foilage always makes a pic better (as long as it looks natural!).
- Get some editing apps. The Instagram filters are great but there are additional tools you can use like Picstitch, Camera Plus (+), Little Moments, Snapseed and VSCO that give you a whole lot of other handy tricks up your sleeve. But don’t over edit your images either, you don’t want a pic that looks unnatural and just plain weird.
- Let’s talk about hashtags. This is a difficult one because if you really want to get Insta-famous, there are all these hashtags you should use when posting one of your images. But I’m not going to talk about that (because clearly I have no idea what they are). No, I’m asking that you don’t use those annoying hashtags like this: #noideawhatimtalkingaboutbuteveryoneisdoingit
- Be original. Oh the sunset on the Prom was pink tonight was it? By all means, take a picture of it but can you add something original like how it made you feel, or here’s my friend skateboarding with the sunset behind them, or here’s my girlfriend laughing in the corner of the shot. That would be much more interesting than the fifth #pinksunset #capetown #summer on my feed.
- Post less, but post better images. Often I see images people post and I’m like: did you not LOOK at your image before sharing it? If your image isn’t exactly what you were hoping for, rather take a few more and post at a later stage. I much prefer quality over quantity. The same applies to your recent holiday in the Kruger. Rather post one magnificent image of your G&T by the watering hole than 8 x out-of-focus shots of tiny antelope in the distance.
Above all, decide what your IG profile is for and the kind of thing you want to focus on. Is it to post every pic of every family get together? That’s fine – but then you probably won’t get a big following (if that’s what you’re after), as that doesn’t offer much to other people. I tend to photograph a variety of things I love, beautiful places I visit or my kids (if they’re looking particularly cute!). So if you’re not on Instagram, why not sign up?! And if you are already, let me know your favourite Instagrammers to follow? I’m always looking for inspiration.